realm, "I did nothing unethical because I did nothing illegal." The position that a professional can in the moral realm be nothing more than a free market performer abandons all that being professional means. However, it would, at the practical as well as the theoretical level, solve many of the real internal human conflicts that professionals are exposed to. If our dominant goal were to relieve (excess) guilt from professionals, this would be the most effective path to take. Scholars and teachers of professional ethics would then be free to devote their energies to the important question of what are or should be the ethical limitations, if any, on market performers in the contemporary economic system.
The other horn of the dilemma is to insist that the concept of professional is now, as always, an extremely important one for the society and the economy. That means that professionals whom we entrust with our important affairs must be trustworthy, committed to high levels of performance well above mere competence, and devoted to the interests of their clients above their own interests. If that is the horn we select, we cannot accept the two excuses that my competition is acting unethically, therefore I must be permitted to do so, and the only ethical injunction I must respond to is not to be caught in illegal activities.
Every professional and aspiring professional faces this choice on a regular basis, whether they are aware of it or not. And whether the status of professional and the practice of true professional ethics continue depends not on a theoretical answer, but on the practices of individual professionals in their daily activities.
This chapter owes much to the inspiration of Hans Mohr, who in a casual conversation made the assertion that "professional ethics are inefficient." He was being critical of contemporary attitudes and that started me thinking about the problems in this chapter.
As for the "human sciences": many English people are suspicious of them to this day. Anthropology was fortunate: it began as an offshoot of Colonial administration. Sociology was under a cloud in England until at least 1960. Only economics flourished, beginning in Adam Smith's Scotland as an aspect of moral philosophy, and achieving mathematical exactitude in Cambridge without losing its philosophical roots. Alfred Marshall was a philosopher at first, John Maynard Keynes was a student of G. E. Moore, while Anglo-American economic theory stayed firmly on the "reason" side of Cartesianism. Economics did not explore the causal tangle of motives or feelings behind real human choices, exploring instead the rational choices of "ideal" producers or consumers, investors, or policymakers. For the purpose of economics, "causal" factors were set aside, in favor of